Trump reshapes American justice as Democrats fracture

CNN's Boris Sanchez reports on President Donald Trump's latest tweet attacking the four federal prosecutors that quit the Roger Stone case after top Justice Department officials undercut them and disavowed the government's recommended sentence against Stone.

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 11:10 AM
Updated: Feb 12, 2020 11:10 AM

President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that the prison sentence that career prosecutors were seeking against his old friend Roger Stone was too rough.

Shortly thereafter, the Department of Justice went against its own line prosecutors and sought a lighter sentence for Trump's longtime friend and informal political adviser, who had lied to the Mueller investigation and who had been in contact with WikiLeaks in 2016.

All four prosecutors withdrew from the case. Read the story here.

Trump told reporters he didn't ask the DOJ to seek a lighter sentence. Arguably, he didn't have to after he called it a "horrible and very unfair situation" on social media. Ultimately, the presiding judge in the case will have the final say on Stone's sentence.

But Trump did put the skids on the nomination of Jessie Liu, who oversaw the Stone prosecution as the former US attorney for the District of Columbia and was up for a top job at the Treasury Department.

The timing -- Appearing on CNN, Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal compared it to Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre and said it appeared the administration timed the announcement so that it would be overshadowed by the New Hampshire primary.

Note: This is not Trump's first Saturday Night Massacre. It's his third or fourth -- He's fired people for not putting unconstitutional orders in place (Sally Yates). He's fired people, ultimately, for defying him on special counsel Robert Mueller (Jeff Sessions). He's fired people for investigating him (James Comey). Now prosecutors are quitting because his DOJ wants to go easier on his friend.

The pattern -- This is the Trump administration post-impeachment. Trump's will goes. And they're not even trying to hide it. Here's what I wrote last week on that, which still applies.

Trump isn't done with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman -- The former National Security Council official who testified at impeachment hearings was marched out of the White House on Friday. On Tuesday, Trump said it would be up to the military whether to pursue disciplinary action against Vindman. The military has promised Vindman would not suffer any retribution.

The race to face Trump in November

Here are some takeaways from New Hampshire. Full updates here.

Bernie Sanders is the front-runner! The democratic socialist senator from Vermont won New Hampshire, CNN projects. He sits atop national polls. He pulled off a virtual tie in Iowa, where the caucus results are still being contested.

But Sanders way underperformed 2016. It's a bigger field of candidates this year, so it may not be surprising, but Sanders isn't coming anywhere near the 60% of the primary vote he enjoyed against Hillary Clinton. He's about half as strong in New Hampshire this year.

Elizabeth Warren needs to think very hard. She once led Democratic polls. She fell to a distant fourth in New Hampshire, a portion of which is in the metro area of the state she represents. She had plans for so many policy proposals. Her plan for delegate acquisition is not working. If she can't win in New Hampshire, which was won by a fellow liberal, where can she win?

Amy Klobuchar is now in the picture. The Minnesota senator is moving fast and jumped into the increasingly crowded middle lane with Pete Buttigieg. She's getting support from college-educated voters, and from voters over 65.

Buttigieg is for real. A week after winning Iowa, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and full-on millennial showed his performance closer to home wasn't an exception.

This race is far from over. Joe Biden, the former front-runner, pulled out of New Hampshire early and left for South Carolina. He's banking on support from African American voters there, and is not even focusing on Nevada, which comes first.

The middle lane is a crowded place. If you add up the support for Klobuchar, Buttigieg and Biden, you've got more than half the primary voters in New Hampshire. You could argue there was more support for moderates than liberals like Sanders and Warren. It's notable that Sanders won even though more than half of Democratic primary voters said in exit polls that his policies are too liberal.

Not every contender was on the ballot in New Hampshire. Mike Bloomberg, who is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars (chump change for someone worth tens of billions) was not on the ballot in New Hampshire.

Health care is Democrats' top issue, but they disagree on it. Exit polls in New Hampshire showed that health care was the top single issue for Democratic primary voters, confirming what entrance polls in Iowa showed. However, in New Hampshire, while a majority of Democratic voters support the idea of dong away with private insurance, a third did not. If Democrats are not unanimously for "Medicare for All," it will be impossible to pass in Washington.

Age matters. Half of Democratic primary voters said in entrance polls that age was a factor. Those voters sided with Klobuchar, not the youngster Buttigieg or the much older Sanders, suggesting there's something of a Goldilocks test among certain voters.

Andrew Yang dropped out. The businessman, who pushed a universal basic income proposal and raised the alarm about robots taking American jobs, has dropped out. He was a welcome and interesting voice on the debate stage, but it didn't turn into support on primary day. (Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet also left the race.)

And one key question: Can any of these white politicians mobilize the Obama coalition?

More of the party backs moderate candidates, but Sanders, with his base, is winning. Among the Democrats remaining in the race and doing well are a Jewish democratic socialist from New York, a gay Christian from South Bend and a woman from the Midwest. We haven't yet gotten to the primaries with diverse voters. What's going to happen with them? We'll see.

Bloomberg will have to Xerox this apology

It was only a matter of time before Bloomberg was forced to face his past policies and how he is perceived by African American voters because of them.

Specifically, his embrace of "stop and frisk" policies in New York has not aged well. Even worse are comments he made behind closed doors to an elite audience in Aspen a few years back.

He's now apologized twice. He'll have to do it again and again.

Here are the comments, which aren't new, but are jarring:

"Ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims" fit the same profile, Bloomberg says. "You can just take the description and Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities 16 to 25."

He continues: "One of the unintended consequences is people say, 'Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.' Yes, that is true. Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes, that is true. Why did we do it? Because that's where all the crime is."

In a statement Tuesday, he apologized again after he first did so in November. He argued he had inherited "stop and frisk" and explained he had cut the policy back.

"By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95%, but I should've done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized -- and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities."

Will that be enough to satisfy a party that depends on minority voters?

Sanders vs. Buttigieg

Buttigieg won a national essay contest in high school lionizing Sanders. Seriously. Now Sanders is attacking Buttigieg for taking money from billionaires. And Buttigieg has said that in his effort to take down Trump he doesn't mind if billionaires want to chip in. Read this.

What are we doing here?

The American system of government has been challenged to deal with a singular President and a divided country that will decide whether he should get another four years in the White House.

Stay tuned to this newsletter as we continue to track developments and keep watch over the Trump administration, the 2020 presidential campaign and other issues of critical interest.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51079

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12019693
Lake5588248
Elkhart353959
Allen2939134
St. Joseph210669
Hamilton1691101
Cass16449
Hendricks1454100
Johnson1340118
Porter82638
Tippecanoe7709
Vanderburgh7276
Clark69544
Madison67464
LaPorte61628
Howard59858
Bartholomew59745
Kosciusko5754
Marshall5449
Noble51328
LaGrange4849
Boone48244
Jackson4783
Delaware47152
Hancock46736
Shelby45425
Floyd40644
Morgan34231
Monroe34028
Grant31826
Dubois3046
Henry30018
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27410
Dearborn25823
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Vigo2528
Warrick25029
Harrison21722
Greene19432
Miami1932
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1649
Wayne1546
Daviess15017
Perry14710
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1352
Ripley1307
Franklin1278
Gibson1202
Wabash1162
Carroll1142
Fayette1067
Whitley1066
Starke1043
Newton10010
Huntington942
Jefferson862
Wells821
Randolph794
Fulton731
Knox710
Jay700
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush613
Posey570
Spencer541
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 64214

Reported Deaths: 3036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11724445
Cuyahoga8979393
Hamilton6781207
Lucas2952305
Marion274539
Montgomery244035
Summit2327209
Pickaway222241
Mahoning1928239
Butler182147
Columbiana137860
Stark1214114
Lorain112069
Trumbull104578
Warren97725
Clark80010
Delaware69815
Fairfield66717
Tuscarawas60410
Lake58923
Medina58232
Belmont56922
Licking56812
Miami50631
Portage49259
Wood48851
Clermont4737
Ashtabula44744
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3715
Allen35641
Greene3439
Mercer29910
Erie27122
Holmes2595
Darke25626
Huron2402
Madison2169
Ottawa17324
Sandusky16015
Washington14620
Ross1443
Coshocton1423
Athens1391
Crawford1385
Putnam13715
Hardin12312
Morrow1201
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1092
Muskingum1001
Union931
Preble901
Monroe8917
Hancock861
Lawrence830
Guernsey823
Clinton811
Hocking809
Williams762
Shelby744
Logan711
Ashland672
Carroll673
Fulton670
Scioto670
Wyandot635
Brown611
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland501
Van Wert471
Perry441
Seneca412
Henry330
Paulding300
Jackson280
Pike280
Adams261
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble140
Harrison131
Meigs130
Morgan110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 73°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 76°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
Dry start to the work week
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events